AUTHORITIES in tsunami-stricken Fukushima say a raging pack of “radioactive” wild boars have invaded several towns after the 2011 disaster that forced thousands of residents to desert their homes, pets and livestock.
Wild boar meat is consumed in the region but animals slaughtered since the disaster six years ago are too contaminated to eat. The New York Times reported that a test conducted by the Japanese government on some of the boars showed extremely high levels of radioactive element caesium-137 that are 300 times higher than safety standards.
In the seaside town of Namie, scores of the toxic boars descended from surrounding hills and forests to forage for food in empty streets and overgrown backyards.
Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town, said: “It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars.
“If we don't get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable.”
Japan is expected to lift evacuation orders for parts of the town, which is located just four kilometres from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The government recently did a survey that revealed the majority of Namie’s former 21,500 residents will never return, citing concerns over radiation levels and the safety of the nuclear plant, which is being decommissioned.
Those who do plan on going back voiced fears about the wild boars at special meetings held earlier this year in preparation of the homecoming.
“I’m sure officials at all levels are giving some thought to this,” Hidezo Sato, a former Namie seed merchant, told Reuters. “Something must be done.”
Around 300 of the animals have been caught since April.